It was pretty quiet at Gladstone Caravan Park – we were one of only three groups booked in for the night, so we pretty much had the facilities to ourselves. As we were heading for another hot day in the high 30’s Steve was keen to get off early.
I wondered whether to draw the gaol (it being the major attraction thereabouts), or some of the old bank buildings, but in the end decided it was easiest to just walk into the playground next door and do an oil pastel of the well treed park. Sometimes the subject of my art work is determined by the convenience of a suitable picnic table and the shadiness of the spot (when sunny that is – if it is rainy or windy other factors come into play).
I rather enjoyed having a go at another oil pastel, but I find them somewhat more time consuming than when I use other media, so another unfinished piece to complete in the future.
Back at the car I found an envelope tucked under the windscreen wipers – a donation from the Park owners. Lovely as they had already given us a reduced rate to stay. Checking Steve’s progress I saw that he was already nearly at Clare where we had agreed to meet for lunch at a winery, so I quickly hurried off around town to get some photos of the buildings and gaol. Also asked around at IGA and pub to see if I had left a misplaced pair of glasses there, but no luck.
Helen at the pub had told us that as soon as we got to Clare we would be in winery country, something we were definitely looking forward to. Up until then the landscape was pretty much just wheat fields broken up by small towns: Georgetown, Gulnare, Yacka and Rochester. Not too much of interest there, but once we got to Clare the hillsides were covered in grape vines as well as some lovely forested stretches.
Steve had selected Mr Mick Winery on the Adelaide side of Clare for lunch – and what a great choice! We had a delightful tapas meal in their small restaurant. Excellent food and reasonable prices. After lunch Steve headed down the Riesling trail, a cycling track that takes you past many of the Clare Valley winery’s and had a slight accident after getting caught in some loose gravel on the edge of the track – a bit of blood and dusted lycra, but nothing serious.
Meanwhile, as I had a discount card for the associated winery, Tim Adams (he was an apprentice of Mr Mick, a renowned winemaker of the region and Tim named the winery in his honour), I took myself there for a couple of tastings and to buy a Shiraz for Steve. For some reason it was very quiet on this particular Sunday, and I was the lone visitor to what was a very attractive cellar door. Catherine, who was on duty, and I got chatting about wine and art – I had expressed an interest in the artworks that were there and had also been at Mr Mick’s by a chap called Murray Edwards (www.murrayedwards.com.au) – I thought they were rather good. His works are exclusively sold through Tim Adams since the artist’s death some five years ago.
Naturally I told Catherine about what we were doing and showed her some of my work…after a pleasant 20 mins or so I had selected a red to purchase for Steve, and as a show of support for our cause Catherine gifted a second bottle to take away! Please support them if you happen to be in the Clare Valley, both establishments are worth a visit.
Onwards to Leasingham and the caravan park (another reduced rate) where Steve and I arrived simultaneously. After washing off his bloodied knee and elbow we both hopped on the bikes and headed back on the Riesling Trail so that I could get in a bit of exercise. Unlike other rail trails that I have experienced this one proved to be a great riding surface, had very pleasant scenery and rest stops with interesting sculptures dotting the way to the next town of Auburn. It was quick riding on the way down, harder work coming back up the slight incline for this not so fit bunny, but good to be back on a bike.